Los Alamitos Race Course intends on running the next edition of the Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) during its September meet, a track official said during a California Horse Racing Board meeting March 24 at the California Exposition and State Fair in Sacramento.
Los Alamitos for 2016 lost its July meet—which featured the Los Alamitos Derby the last two years—but gained spring dates through negotiations with Santa Anita Park and Del Mar, so the Orange County track had to move one of its signature races either to its upcoming April-May meet, or meets later in the year, in September or December.
With the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) running April 9, Brad McKinzie, Los Alamitos general manager of Thoroughbred racing, said September would be the best fit.
"In cooperation with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, they have requested that we continue to run the Los Alamitos Derby," McKinzie said. "Obviously, the Los Alamitos Derby doesn't fit in April, because a $250,000 race would be in conflict with the Santa Anita Derby, opposed to complimenting the Santa Anita Derby, so it is our plan to run the Los Alamitos Derby during the September meet."
As for the upcoming meet, which will run from April 13 to May 3, McKinzie took questions from the board about the California Chrome Stakes, which will be run for the first time this year and will offer a $150,000 purse for 3-year-olds April 30.
"I'm curious. You made that $150,000," CHRB member Madeline Auerbach said. "How did you determine that? You've got a grade III race (the Los Angeles Stakes April 16) that's going in at ($100,000) and the grade II (Great Lady M Stakes April 23) is going in at ($200,000), and this is a non-graded race.
"I know you don't have money to throw away. I'm wondering why you have that kind of money in an overnight stakes."
McKinzie said the race will hopefully attract attention for the short Los Al meet and ideally set up for 3-year-olds who were not ready or unable to take part in other Triple Crown prep races but would still need a prep for a potential run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
"As always, when we have these short meets our goal is to try to attract, hopefully, a couple of big-name 3-year-olds who might be pointing to a bigger race," McKinzie said. "That will not only give us some recognition, but center some national attention on that race.
"We've found, when we can attract a (big-name) horse and make something of a headline race, that our handle—particularly our out-of-state handle—benefits. It focuses the national attention in this very crowded satellite menu on Los Alamitos."
Also discussed during the Thursday meeting was a proposal that would expand clenbuterol bans adopted by the CHRB to Thoroughbreds and Appaloosas who run in designated Quarter Horse races.
"The point of this agenda item is essentially to prohibit clenbuterol use in all horses participating in a mix-breed race, which is officially designated as a Quarter Horse race," said CHRB general counsel Philip Laird, who declined to comment on a March 10 court decision that determined Los Alamitos' house rules on clenbuterol and albuterol testing in Quarter Horse races violated state laws.
The motion to "end authorized administration of cIenbuterol for all horses participating in Quarter Horse races for 12 months" passed unanimously.
CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker also reported that an amendment the board adopted, which would void a claim if a horse bleeds through the nose, has been approved by the state Office of Administrative Law and will become effective July 1.